Surgical oncology is a subspecialty of general surgery dedicated to advancing and promoting the science and treatment of cancer. Surgical oncologists are surgeons who complete a period of additional clinical and research after a five year general surgery residency. During this extended fellowship training, these highly skilled surgeons focus exclusively on the study of cancer and its medical and surgical treatment.
Because of this special training, they are able to provide a unique level of care to the cancer patient, spanning the full spectrum of the patient experience and allowing them to be a partner in care and an advocate for the patient from the time of initial diagnosis, through acute management of their cancer, as well as during post-operative care and into lifelong survivorship and post-cancer surveillance.
By virtue of their intensive clinical and research training, surgical oncologists have a thorough understanding of cancer biology and work closely with the rest of the oncology team to develop and execute a care plan that is precisely designed to meet the needs of an individual patient’s cancer. In addition to surgery, which may include the use of minimally invasive techniques, palliative surgery, and neo-adjuvant treatments, the management of cancer may include traditional chemotherapy, radiation, or the newest targeted biologic treatments. Because of the highly complex nature of malignancies, clinical trials have demonstrated the value of this specialized training and expertise, directly linking the care provided by surgical oncologists to better patient outcomes.